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Richard Dawkins v. Deepak Chopra

SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

Fascinating exchange between these two on the nature of consciousness and the universe.

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Comments

  • Cells do not have a desire for meaning.

    These two are talking apples and oranges.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think Chopra is a charlatan, it's just a nonsensical stream of pseudo-science and psycho-babble. I didn't like Chopra's cheap point-scoring much either, it's like he's trying to be clever but comes across as rather childish.

    Thank you. I wanted to say something along these lines, but couldn't find the words. That "who is 'I' " schtick he came up with when he couldn't refute Dawkins on the basis of the argument really showed him up as incompetent to defend himself. And Chopra has been proven to have plagiarized much of his material from other authors.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I think Chopra is a charlatan, it's just a nonsensical stream of pseudo-science and psycho-babble. I didn't like Chopra's cheap point-scoring much either, it's like he's trying to be clever but comes across as rather childish.

    Indeed. Deluded, confused and rather pointless . . . more twaddle . . .

    The great thing is he is a teacher . . . of how not to think.

    Here is how to make use of him . . .
    http://web.archive.org/web/20030828015822/http://pages.britishlibrary.net/edjason/eight/

    SpinyNorman
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Good grief, I feel like slapping him through the screen....! Deepak Chopra is such a berk...

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Dakini said:And Chopra has been proven to have plagiarized much of his material from other authors.>

    Yes, that would certainly make sense. There is a sort of dishonesty about him which I don't much like, he reminds me of a used-car salesman for some reason.

    Hamsaka
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    Yes, that would certainly make sense. There is a sort of dishonesty about him which I don't much like, he reminds me of a used-car salesman for some reason.

    I've always thought from the start that he looked like a snake-in-the-grass. His appearance, his facial expression always looked like he was ego-driven and untrustworthy. We may think it's not fair to judge people by appearance, but sometimes psychology is revealed in subtle cues and details.

    lobster
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Dakini said:
    Cells do not have a desire for meaning.

    These two are talking apples and oranges.

    I think it's absurd to pit an apples kind of guy (mystical-leaning) and an oranges kind of guy (scientist). I mean, what is a science type of guy doing debating someone he knows can't hold a candle to his scientific knowledge? And, as a matter of fact, science is nothing more than accepting one 'truth' until the next 'truth' comes along.

    I just started reading (pg. 25) of DC's The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want - I skimmed it at the library amongst plenty of other books and thought it sounded interesting and so far, so good.

    I've never read any of his stuff before, so I dunno about him plagiarizing anything: Like what? Fwiw, I think even if he is considered to have copied stuff, if it boils down to repeating something classic / helpful in a contemporary voice, then more power to him or whoever does the retelling.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @silver said:I mean, what is a science type of guy doing debating someone he knows can't hold a candle to his scientific knowledge?

    It's actually a proper scientist debating with a pseudo-scientist. If Chopra claims to be a mystic, fine, that's what he should stick to.

    I think Chopra is playing a new-age version of the God-of-the-gaps game, "Oh, look, there's something that science hasn't worked out yet, I'll make something up and squeeze it in while they're not looking."

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:It's actually a proper scientist debating with a pseudo-scientist. If Chopra claims to be a mystic, fine, that's what he should stick to.

    Yes, but nobody put a gun to either of their heads to show up for this 'debate'.
    Just maybe a briefcase full of bills did the whispering in both of their ears.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I don't know, but it doesn't change the fact that Chopra is a self-promoting guru and Dawkins a respected scientist.

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @silver said:
    I think it's absurd to pit an apples kind of guy (mystical-leaning) and an oranges kind of guy (scientist). I mean, what is a science type of guy doing debating someone he knows can't hold a candle to his scientific knowledge? And, as a matter of fact, science is >nothing more than accepting one 'truth' until the next 'truth' comes along.

    All good points. It was a silly set-up from the beginning. And yeah, some people find DC inspirational. It was years ago, early in his publishing career, that someone researched his work and some of his sources, and found ideas, phrases, heavily lifted from other authors. But others have offered your counter-argument, that it's not invalid to synthesize the material in any given field. So, enjoy the book, if it speaks to you.

    And, following up on the mismatched debate idea, it would be MUCH more interesting to hold a debate between a physicist and one of the scientists or doctors who's been researching consciousness, NDE's, bioelectromagnetic fields, and all that stuff. There is ongoing scientific research in those areas. That would be extremely educational. The debate in the OP wasn't.

    silverHamsakanakazcid
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't know, but it doesn't change the fact that Chopra is a self-promoting guru and Dawkins a respected scientist.

    I don't know, either, but I know neither of them is dumb enough to think they won't get plenty of publicity for it. I can't help but believe that even a respected scientist wants something out of said publicity. I think he's sold a book or two...

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't know, but it doesn't change the fact that Chopra is a self-promoting guru and Dawkins a respected scientist.

    Is Dawkins a scientist? I've only heard of him in relation to being a vocal atheist.

    edit: here's some info on him. Pretty interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    But Chopra claims to understand the science, including quantum mechanics and the hard problem of consciousness. But when you know a bit about the science it's very clear that he doesn't understand it at all, what's he really doing is trying to make his theories sound a bit more credible by dressing them up in sciency sounding words. But it's all just a word salad of pseudo-science. Pseudo meaning fake.

    lobstermmo
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    But Chopra claims to understand the science, including quantum mechanics and the hard problem of consciousness. But when you know a bit about the science it's very clear that he doesn't understand it at all, what's he really doing is trying to make his theories sound a bit more credible by dressing them up in sciency sounding words. But it's all just a word salad of pseudo-science. Pseudo meaning fake.

    Remember back in the 90's or maybe late 80's, he was really into an anti-aging thing? He was riding that wave. And he claimed that with the right combo of vitamins, or whatever, and meditation, you could arrest the aging process, even visibly? But here we are, 20+ years later, and what do you know? He's aged! At least he's honest, and doesn't dye his hair, which I suspected he was doing 20 years ago.

  • @vinlyn said:
    Just generally, I try to remember how many people out there think that Buddhists are nutty. Yet, we know Buddhism can lead people to a better life.

    Apparently, Chopra teachings lead some people to a better life.

    To each his own. Doesn't mean I/we have to endorse him.

    Yes, I guess it's not very Buddhistic of us to sit around tearing him down, just for sport. It's not like he's bilking people of millions, or taking advantage of people somehow. I guess...

    lobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    Yes, I guess it's not very Buddhistic of us to sit around tearing him down, just for sport. It's not like he's bilking people of millions, or taking advantage of people somehow. I guess...

    Well, I wasn't really going to that extreme about it. But, he is a medical doctor, so it's not like he has no background. I don't know much about him other than what I read on wikipedia, but it mentions that he bases "his approach to health incorporates ideas about the mind-body relationship". And I'm just thinking that any number of times on this forum people have brought up the health benefits of meditation. So it just seems to me that while his approach is different than "ours", it's not like it's a leap over the Grand Canyon.

    That doesn't mean that his ideas shouldn't be questioned, but I would suggest that some who dismiss him "out of hand" are probably going too far on the other end of the spectrum.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    Thank you, @vinlyn. I either didn't know, or had forgotten, that he's an MD. And Western science has proven that meditation reduces stress, and insofar as stress hormones contribute to aging, it isn't inaccurate to say that meditation can slow the aging process. But my recollection is that he was going farther than that in his claims.

    Ah, here we are, from his listings on Amazon:

    Grow Younger, Live Longer: Ten Steps to Reverse Aging (2002)
    Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old (1994)

    "Grow younger" and "Reverse aging" seem like fantastic claims. My earlier point was that 20 years after the first book, he doesn't seem to have achieved what his books were telling people was achievable.

  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    For people wondering what Dawkins is doing debating this guy... Clearly you don't know too much about Richard Dawkins. He kind of makes it his personal battle to tear down pseudo-science and religion.

    Just add him on Facebook, you'll see a lot of articles like this.

    https://m.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @zombiegirl said:
    For people wondering what Dawkins is doing debating this guy... Clearly you don't know too much about Richard Dawkins. He kind of makes it his personal battle to tear down pseudo-science and religion.

    Just add him on Facebook, you'll see a lot of articles like this.

    https://m.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation

    Kind of like that Randi guy who offers a million to prove life after death or something like that?

    They're still doing each other a favor to get the publicity. I think they both look more than a little silly in this particular debate.

  • @zombiegirl said:
    For people wondering what Dawkins is doing debating this guy... Clearly you don't know too much about Richard Dawkins He kind of makes it his personal battle to tear down pseudo-science and religion.

    Just add him on Facebook, you'll see a lot of articles like this.

    https://m.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation

    I don't think he did a very good job. Neither of them did. But we didn't see the whole debate, did we? Wasn't that just a small segment?

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I think Chopra is a charlatan, it's just a nonsensical stream of pseudo-science and psycho-babble. I didn't like Chopra's cheap point-scoring much either, it's like he's trying to be clever but comes across as rather childish.

    Chopra is an MD and a New Agey pseud (British Word)

    Dr Deva Chopratic [yes it is an ad honimen attack - I iz so unscientific and illogical] a better medic than me but I can talk fluent New Age Gibberish. I have been doing it in many forms for years to illustrate it's ridiculous pretensions.

    Buddhist meditation and many forms of dharma have health benefits. Some have been medically and scientifically investigated. Some not. Some Buddhist practices are . . . how to put this kindly . . . ridiculous . . . For example the health benefits of Tendai self mumification are based on acute self poisoning and should not be tried at home even with medical supervision . . . not safe anywhere . . .

    Try and watch this film endorsed by Dr Chopping Channel [oops . . . there I go again . . .]

    Quatum Woo
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quantum_woo

    . . . now let us discuss real mysticism . . . perhaps in another thread . . .

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't know, but it doesn't change the fact that Chopra is a self-promoting guru and Dawkins a respected scientist.

    A self-promoting respected scientist.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @SpinyNorman said:
    It's actually a proper scientist debating with a pseudo-scientist.

    Yeah.

    Its also one really rich guy pretending to have a debate with an even richer guy. Chopra has a net worth of around 80 million USD. Dawkins is around 135 million. Very few MDs bank 80 large. Even fewer respected scientists have 135. These guys are laughing, at us, all the way to the bank. Win or loose niether has to work another day in their lives. It doesn't matter if they're right or wrong. People buy they're shit hook line and sinker. All they have to do is shit themselves in public and they drive home in an Aston.

    Nice work if you can find it.

  • When Chopra was in the early part of his career, his talk about the "mind/body connection" seemed revolutionary, and oddly, it was a concept that wasn't accepted by mainstream medicine in the West. For some reason, the medical establishment was oblivious to the obvious. ... As it is wont to be, for inexplicable reasons. But now, the light has dawned, though it's not spoken of in those terms, so Chopra ends up sounding a bit quaint when he harps on it. But now he's reinvented himself as an expert on consciousness, so he can stay fresh on the talk show circuit. I suppose there will always be popularizers of new scientific ideas, so in this sense, he's nothing new or unique.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Well gosh -- should we read their books...or not?

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @silver said:
    Well gosh -- should we read their books...or not?

    That, is entirely up to you.

    Like The Oracle said, "Make up your own damned mind.".

    vinlyn
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Chaz said:
    Like The Oracle said, "Make up your own damned mind.".

    That was a rhetorical. wink, wink.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I can't say I am a Deepak fan. However, the books mentioned about anti-aging are largely books on Ayurveda which is just another practice like yoga and meditation strongly rooted in his culture. It's not quite so much the same approach as Dr Oz has, but has it's basis in Ayurveda. I have one of his books on it, and it's decent when compared to people considered scholars in the Ayurvedic world. The titles are a bit...odd. It really has little to do with quantum stuff, there is some mention of the energy bodies, but overall, it's a clean eating diet plan laid out for different body types and based on the natural cycles of the planet. Many of the practices he condones are increasingly being shown (and discussed here) to reduce the effects of aging.

    Like I said, I'm not exactly on his band wagon or anything, lol. I don't approve of his methods nor do I approve of his charging people a small fortune to teach the same information that is freely available otherwise. Oprah endorsed him. That is how he came to be famous and expensive, mostly, lol. But, some knowledge of what his books and such are about that you are bothering to criticize is warranted as well. It's always interested to come into a thread (on a Buddhist forum even) you had not previously read and see an entire 30+ posts basically bashing another human being that they apparently don't know that much about.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @karasti -- maybe it's a full moon - peeps seem kinda rasty in the past 24. O.o

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Personally, I much prefer the Dawkins' interview/debate with Steven Rose.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Chaz said:
    Nice work if you can find it.

    But at least Dawkins is honest. Chopra is a fraud, the spiritual equivalent of a dodgy used-car salesman.

    lobster
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Jason said:
    Personally, I much prefer the Dawkins' interview/debate with Steven Rose.

    proper talk, indeed; thank you for sharing. (=

    edit: and they respect each other, which is much nicer to be a part of in general.

  • Professor Richard Dawkins is honest about his areas of expertise . . .

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @silver said:
    karasti -- maybe it's a full moon - peeps seem kinda rasty in the past 24. O.o

    Yeah, I'm ripping on Chopra because I think he's a fraud and full of BS. Watch carefully, see how he ducks and dives, continually distracting attention from the massive holes in his theory. See how he produces a succession of pseudo-science buzz words and psycho-babble, stuff that sounds clever at first hearing but when examined is revealed as meaningless word salad and window dressing.
    I'm surprised that anyone is taken in by him.

    lobsterHamsaka
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @karasti said:Many of the practices he condones are increasingly being shown (and discussed here) to reduce the effects of aging.

    That sounds rather like an advert for skin cream. ;)

    Any scientific validation of such claims? I doubt that very much.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Dakini said:I suppose there will always be popularizers of new scientific ideas, so in this sense, he's nothing new or unique.

    But with Chopra it's not science, it's pseudo science. He claims for example that every cell is conscious, because that fits in with his theories of cosmic consciousness. But from a scientific point of view the idea is outlandish. But of course he claims to be a mystic, so he can stand outside the scientific community where his ideas would be properly scrutinised and quickly exposed for the nonsense that they are.

  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran

    I admire anyone like Dawkins who takes part in the task of driving away the beast of religion and superstition from the civilized world and thwarts anyone who attempts to use Science for a religious or superstitious agenda.

    lobsterHamsakaSpinyNormanmmo
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Any scientific validation of such claims? I doubt that very much.

    Doesn't matter. With net worth like they have, it's pretty clear that validation is of no concern. They're selling books. Making money. There's no science. No honesty. Just marketing.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    That certainly describes Chopra. Not Dawkins though, he is serious about the science and comes across as honest.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    But with Chopra it's not science, it's pseudo science. He claims for example that every cell is conscious, because that fits in with his theories of cosmic consciousness. But from a scientific point of view the idea is outlandish. But of course he claims to be a mystic, so he can stand outside the scientific community where his ideas would be properly scrutinised and quickly exposed for the nonsense that they are.

    Don't you generally take the religious side of the rebirth debate? Maybe I'm remembering it wrong.

    I don't see how the ideas that Chopra is selling could be any more outlandish from a scientific point of view than any number of strange ideas that are taken seriously by the world's Buddhists.

    vinlyn
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited January 2015

    Surely we can't compare serious scientific research to the claptrap Chopra spouts?
    Literally, the two are incomparable!

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @robot said:

    On rebirth I argue that this is what the suttas actually describe. It's not something I personally believe in or attach to, and it's not relevant to my daily practice.

    Chopra comes across to me as a charlatan and I've explained in this thread why I have that view of him. If you don't agree with my assessment then please say why.

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @TheEccentric said:
    I admire anyone like Dawkins who takes part in the task of driving away the beast of religion and superstition from the civilized world and thwarts anyone who attempts to use Science for a religious or superstitious agenda.

    I think you're giving him more credit than he deserves.

    I admire him for making a buttload of money.

    I wonder if he sleeps with his students?

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Freeman dyson:

    “It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call "observation" in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call "chance" when they are made by electrons.”

    Dakini
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    Saying that Dawkins likes the money doesn't alter the fact that he has a great deal of knowledge about science, compared to Chopra who is just making up BS and pretending it's science. It's a classic new-age ploy, making up bizarre theories then trying to pretend that science supports them.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @federica said:
    Surely we can't compare serious scientific research to the claptrap Chopra spouts?
    Literally, the two are incomparable!

    I agree, and it surprises me that anyone takes Chopras pseudo-science seriously. It points to a very poor understanding of basic science in the audience.

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